Literary Senioritis

When I was in high school, people would talk about experiencing “senioritis” in the last year of school—that feeling that high school is dragging on too long and you are eager for the next stage of your life to begin.

I didn’t really understand what they were talking about until the middle of my junior year—my senioritis struck early. Suddenly, I felt “done” with high school. Not that there weren’t more facts and skills to be learned in school, but emotionally I had finished—I wanted to move on. With me restless and daydreaming, the next year and a half seemed very long.

Oddly, this is not the only time in my life that I have felt senioritis. In college and in every job I have had, there has come a moment where I am “done.” Not that I didn’t still enjoy my work, but a feeling that I had learned all I could in that place and it was time to move on. As if my personal growth required a change to keep me from stagnating. I never ignored that feeling.

I am experiencing senioritis again now. As my debut novel nears release, the familiar “ants-in-the-pants” sensation keeps me pacing the floor. All the knowledge about the business and the marketing I have accrued over the years is building inside of me, waiting for the dam to breach and let the flood go. I know I have more to learn, but it cannot be learned at this stage—I need to graduate to the next stage to continue to grow.

And so I sit here with anticipation tingling my skin, waiting for the launch sequence to commence in earnest. I alternately daydream of the perfect launch party and have nightmares about book signing disasters. I am as ready as I can be for the next chapter of my career, but still riddled with the anxiety of the unknown.

Literary senioritis: an uncomfortable sensation of feeling confined by my current writer cocoon yet feeling anxious about emerging as an author and learning to fly.

Do you ever feel that push-pull of wanting to stay where you are yet also yearning to be more than you are now?

Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2014 Precap

I suppose, being a writer, I should call this post a prologue, rather than a precap, but my many years in the video business have conditioned me to say precap and recap! And really, this is more of a precap than a prologue, so it’s all good.

I will be attending the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference (PWC) this year, as I have since 2011. It’s my hometown conference, so I can commute daily instead of paying for a room, and I can secure babysitting for my child. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy this conference. I always leave with tons of information, a handful of new friends, and a boatload of inspiration!

It is odd to think how different my position this year is compared to last year. I have 4 publishing credentials to my name. My first short story, To Light and Guard, was published just days before the 2013 PWC. Since then, I have added a poem, The Towers Stood, in the World Healing, World Peace 2014 anthology and the short story Dying Breath published just a few weeks ago in Youth Imagination magazine. I have also self-published a genealogy book on my father’s side of the family, The Warren Family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Their Ancestors.

Added to that, my middle grade novel Ozcillation has been picked up by the independent publisher Evil Jester Press, and will be released in 2015.

So my experience of this year’s PWC will be from a very different perspective than last year.

I do have a book deal, but I still do not have an agent. Since you don’t have to have the book finished when pitching to agents at a conference, I may pitch a second middle grade book I’m working on, since I have the other middle grade coming out next year. I do have a YA novel making the rounds in the agent query world, but I keep hearing that the genre is not selling well, so maybe it’s time to put that one on the back burner for a few months (genres always cycle back around).

I’m excited for this year’s conference, because I am looking forward to seeing old friends and friends I have only ever “met” online. And this conference really does feel like home to me. As a person with anxiety disorder, feeling comfortable at a conference is a big deal. I know I will still be totally exhausted by the end of the three days, but it will be a “good” exhausted.

As I have done for the past 3 years, I will be doing a nightly report on the PWC each day of the conference over on The Author Chronicles. Come over each day and see what’s going on at the oldest writers’ conference with open registration in America! We’ll also have a recap on Tuesday, and I usually do a personal “biggest takeaway” post back here on Thursday.

If you’re going to the PWC, I hope to see you there!

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